Quick Tips to Get you Moving During These Tough Times
Keeping your body moving is an important component of overall wellness because getting healthy is an around-the-clock task!
When I was younger, I joined a gym and, on the recommendation of a friend, began taking a spin class. Spinning (which is a high speed intense stationary bike class, usually taught in a dark room with loud, booming music) was the cool new exercise at the time, and I figured that I was young and in fair enough shape to push myself hard during the second class.
Unfortunately, when I hopped off the bike at the end of class, my legs immediately gave out and I collapsed to the floor, grabbing on to the bike on the way down so as not to completely embarrass myself. When I woke up the next morning, my legs were so sore! Sore enough that getting into and out of chairs was an excruciating task, and this pain and discomfort continued for almost a full week until I finally recovered. Over the years, I have certainly pushed the limits of my muscles at other times and in other tasks. Very likely, most people have experienced the pain of a pulled muscle strain.
This past spring, we were forced to quarantine ourselves in our homes, and my activity level diminished severely. So it was very surprising when I woke up recently to find some aches and pains in my back and my legs. I knew that I hadn’t hit the gym recently, and I certainly hadn’t gone out jogging, so the source of these aches was a mystery. I spoke to a Physical Therapist friend, who suggested that I do two things: Stretch, and Move. As she so gently reminded me, not doing anything can be as detrimental to our physical well-being as overdoing it, and my muscles were getting rusty.
Hunkering down has been a natural response to these tough times, especially now that days are getting colder and shorter. In the spring, we took walks, and in the summer, we spent a lot of time outdoors gardening, swimming, etc., but as fall and winter creep in around us, many of us are more likely to cook a hearty stew and cuddle up with a blanket and a good book than spend time outdoors moving. However, it’s crucial to our physical and mental health to get moving. If you are new to exercise, daunted by the idea of working out, or (like me) a little rusty from non-use, don’t fret. Getting started on the right track is as simple as performing some simple routines. Here are some suggestions:
- Stand. Yes, simple standing is beneficial to getting the blood flowing through your veins. It is suggested that you get up from your seated activities every 30 minutes by shifting into a vertical position. Many have benefitted from a standing desk or high-top table, where you can stand to do your work, eat, or read. The bottom line is that sitting and lying down constantly is not the ideal position, and can lead to weak legs, bad backs, and weight gain.
- Check out some YouTube exercise classes. From step aerobics to gentle yoga to easy stretches, YouTube has a plethora of free workouts. No matter if you are willing to devote ten minutes or two hours to working out, there are resources online for you to try. Take a gander through some of the offerings and find the class that is right for you.
- Clean, garden, etc. Surprisingly, household chores are great for getting the body moving. Even if you take them slowly, running the vacuum or pulling weeds can provide a much-needed stretch for your arms, or get the blood pumping.
- Go for a walk. We know. It’s a little nerve-wracking out there sometimes. Lots of people are outside walking, and not everyone observes the same social distancing principles as you do. However, the weather has cooled down, the leaves have turned, and there are some beautiful days out there (in between some of the chillier weather). Be smart, but take advantage of this by keeping an eye on the weather, put on a sweater, and take a mask with you just in case you encounter people. Walk around your backyard, or around the block, enjoy the fresh air, wave to neighbors, and get those muscles moving.
Keeping your body moving is an important component of overall wellness, and will help reduce pain, inflammation, and discomfort that can result from being sedentary. These tips are meant to get you started on your journey to a more comfortable you!
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